A2 Psychology: Clinical and Issues and Debates.

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  1. Explain abnormality through the Statistical Criterion.
    The statistical criterion states that behaviour which is statistically infrequent is abnormal. E.g IQ is standerdised so that the average IQ score in the population is 100 points. The lower limit is 70 and the upper limit is 130. People who have and IQ outside of this range is considered to be abnormal.

    Inrelation to mental illness, auditory hallucinations are statistically infrequent, as most of us don't hear voices, therefore anyone who hears voices that aren't there is abnormal.
  2. Evaluate The Statistical Criteron of abnormality.
    • (+) The statistical criterion is favoured by most researchers because it represents a more absolute way of deciding what is and what isn't abnormal. Other definitions are open to interpretation of the behaviour being looked at.
    • (+) The statistical criterion is easier to apply than other definitions. As numbers are objective, a single figure can be used as a cut off point. E.g. any score below 70 in an IQ test is considered to be abnormal.
    • (-) Statistical cirterion are inevitably rather than arbitary ("being on the fence"). E.g. If you scored 69 in an IQ test you're considered to be abnormal, but if you score 71 then you're normal. A difference of only two points between abnormality and normality is unfair.
    • (-) The statistical criterion tends to be applied inconsistently, e.g. positively valued deviations, such as high IQ, is considered to be bad in this explanation of abnormality, when it is actually a good thing.
  3. Explain abnormality through the Deviation fom the social norm.
    Social norms are rules based on how society expects us to behave, any deviation from this is viewed as abnormal. Each society has its own set of norms and tehrefore we need to look as each society in order to identify and decide if an individual is either conformingoor deviating from the social norm. Therefore, much behaviour which appears normal in one context becomes abnormal if it appeas in another. E.g. its normal to remove your clothes when going in the shower, but is a different issue when removing your clothes in public.
  4. Evaluate Deviation from the social norm.
    • (+) At a prectical everyday level, deviation from the social norm can be a usefl way to identify mental illness. One of the main ways that psychological problems first come to the attention of pearople is when an indiviuals behaviour changes.
    • (+) There is a shift in emphasis from the person being seen as abnormal to the behaviour being exhibited. This discourages us from viewing people as abnormal which could lead to labelling and stigma, which would lead to the self fulfilling prophecy which can be destructive.
    • (-) Not all incidents of behaviour that don't conform to the social norm show abnormality in the sense it is mean in clinical psychology. E.g. those who do exceptionally well at school are bit cakked avbirnakm even though theis behaviour differs from the social norm.
    • (-) The social norm is subjective and is distorted in that the more powerful decide what's right and wrong, e.g. Nazi Germany.
  5. What is shcizophrenia?
    A psychotic disorder which involves loss of contact with reality, usually involves delusions and/or auditory and visual hallucinations.
  6. Symptoms of Schizophrenia.
    Psotive symptoms - behaviours which are additional to normal behavour which isn't needed. E.g. hearing voices, this is associated with short-term psychological symptoms.

    Negative symptoms - behaviours which appear to be absent form normal behaviour. E.g. loss of drive, this is associated with log-term and pysical symtoms.
  7. Evaluating Diagnosis
    1. Purpose of diagnosis - having common descriptions of disorders enables effective communication between health care professionals on different aspects of disorders and evaluation of appropriate treatments.

    2. Reliability and Validity - the goals of diagnosis can only be achieved if it is both consistent (i.e. clinicians must agree) and reflectsan actual disorder (and cause).

    3. Labelling - Diagnosis can be problematic in that is can lead to stigma and discrimination e.g. schozophrenic can be used as a insult.

    4. Culture - Diagnosis is only useful if different cultural beliefs, tradiions, norms etc. are taken into account.
  8. Purpose of Diagnosis.
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A2 Psychology: Clinical and Issues and Debates.
Material for unit 4: Clinical & Issues and Debates.
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